via MacLiver Institute
Ten years ago, Wisconsin was in a dire financial situation.
Wisconsin had a $156 million budget deficit, and the upcoming 2011-2013 budget was starting off $3.6 billion in the hole. That didn’t include $1.5 billion the state owed to the federal government for an unemployment benefits loan.
During previous budget cycles, the state had stolen money from segregated accounts like the transportation fund and the patients’ compensation fund to plug holes in other areas. It raised taxes and fees. It got a one-time wind fall from the federal stimulus act. All of those were temporary – and sometimes illegal – solutions.
“The reality is that we have to get this current budget, the soon to be forthcoming budget, and budgets for decades to come in line,” Gov. Scott Walker said on Feb. 11, 2011. “We can no longer kick the can to the future.”
Walker’s plan was called the “Budget Repair Bill,” which eventually became Act 10. It addressed the root of Wisconsin’s budget problem – unchecked labor costs.
It limited collective bargaining for public sector unions to just base salary and wages. Those unions needed to be recertified every year by at least 51% of represented employees. It ended dues check off, which automatically deducted union dues from government pay checks.
Public employees would be required to pay for 12.6% of their health insurance premiums, and pay for half of the contributions made to their pension funds.
Act 10 didn’t just fix the state’s financial problems. It also gave local governments and school districts the tools they needed to keep their budgets balanced. Previously, most school districts were required to buy health insurance through the state teachers union. After Act 10, they were allowed to shop for the best deal.
Act 10 has now been in place for ten years, and it continues to save the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
photo credit and complete study here > Act 10 at 10: Total Taxpayer Savings Hits $13.9 Billion
Brett Healy of the Macliver Institute joined me to talk about the massive savings Act 10 has delivered for Wisconsin Taxpayers......